School of Pharmacy serves as PPE distribution hub for community pharmacies

A handful of UCSF School of Pharmacy faculty members, students, and staff recently gathered at the Laurel Heights campus to perform a task outside their typical duties: to receive a shipment of tens of thousands of masks, and over a hundred gallons of hand sanitizer, and prepare these vital pandemic-related items for local pharmacies.

The need to protect front-line health care workers with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) remains a crucial priority during the COVID-19 pandemic. And for pharmacists, who are often patient’s first point of contact with the health care system, this need has not waned.

As one of four hubs organized by the California Pharmacists Association (CPhA) to redistribute state-provided PPE, the School of Pharmacy received a total of 156,000 masks and 146 gallons of hand sanitizer from the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), which manages some of the state’s responses to the pandemic, including PPE distribution.

Department of Clinical Pharmacy staff members Marley Quirante and Julie Erich worked with CPhA and UCSF Facilities Management to coordinate receipt of the bulk shipment of PPE. Doctor of pharmacy (PharmD) students Christina Vo and Ernie Lam, both Class of 2021, helped repackage the hand sanitizer bottles into boxes each containing a gallon of sanitizer.

On June 23, San Francisco pharmacies picked up their orders, which contained 92,000 masks and 100 gallons of hand sanitizer, while CPhA distributed the remaining supplies to community pharmacies in the Sacramento area.

“Community pharmacists are essential front-line health care providers, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, and are often the primary connection between the community and the health care system,” said Lisa Kroon, PharmD, chair of the Department of Clinical Pharmacy. Kroon also helped coordinate the pick-ups. “We are proud to collaborate with CPhA to support community pharmacies to obtain necessary PPE for their employees.”

About the School: The UCSF School of Pharmacy is a premier graduate-level academic organization dedicated to improving health through precise therapeutics. It succeeds through innovative research, by educating PharmD health professional and PhD science students, and by caring for the therapeutics needs of patients while exploring innovative new models of patient care. The School was founded in 1872 as the first pharmacy school in the American West. It is an integral part of UC San Francisco, a leading university dedicated to promoting health worldwide.